Tishrei: The Journey of the Holidays

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The commitment of Rosh Hashanah, the emotional connection of Yom Kippur, and the intellectual integration of Simchat Torah: This map was outlined by the Tzemach Tzedek, recounted by the previous Rebbe, and explained by the Rebbe.

Lesson Contents:

A. The Three Crowns

The Mishnah tells us about three crowns: kingship, Torah, and priesthood. The crown of the good name supersedes them all (source 1). The previous Rebbe cited a teaching of the Tzemach Tzedek, in which the first three crowns represent the various holidays of Tishrei (source 2). The Rebbe cites the teaching and begins to explain.

B. The Crown of Kingship

The Talmud teaches us that Rosh Hashanah is about coronating G-d as our king (source 3). Indeed, in the holiday liturgy, this is a primary focus (source 4). As the Rebbe explains, this is the first stage in a Jew’s spiritual journey – committing himself to be G-d’s subject.

C. The Crown of Priesthood

But, the Rebbe explains, accepting G-d’s dominion is not enough. We need to identify with G-dliness, and not just fulfill G-d’s dictates like obliging subjects. This is the focus of Yom Kippur, when the High Priest would enter the Holy of Holies. The central item in that room was the Tablets, which their words etched in stone. This represents a connection to Judaism in which a person identifies with G-d and His being in engraved in the person’s soul.

In the sources (5-6), we read about the service of the High Priest in the Holy of Holies. 

D. The Crown of Torah

This holiday is about our connection to Torah (source 7). This represents the third stage; our connection should not be only practical or emotional. Our connection to G-d must also be intellectual. 

E. The Crown of Torah

The Rebbe explains that all three crowns are part of the personal journey towards to goal – to spiritually ‘carry” the person through the year.

As the Previous Rebbe explains (source 8), Tishrei is a time to visit the fair and stock up on goods, which will later be unpacked as they are needed.

This brings us to the fourth crown, the Crown of the Good Name. When the fulfillment of Mitzvos follows the first three stages, this stage is “olah al gabeihem,” standing on their shoulders and raising the individual to truly great heights.

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